It is no secret that I love wine. I love the history behind winemaking, the complexity of science involved in the process, the delectable taste of the finished product and the atmosphere of local wineries pairing all the steps together in one mouth-watering, delicious gulp of goodness. My fiancé and I have this in common; it was actually the first spark of conversation that drew us to like each other on the dating site in which we met. My profile boasted my love for wine and bike riding. He, too, imbibed in both hobbies. The rest is history in the making…

Recently, on a holiday weekend, we decided to explore a few local wineries. Overall (for the wine police out there), we visited four wineries (in two days, so we were properly hydrated and appropriately ripened for the tastings). The very first winery we visited set the bar incredibly high. It turned out to be our favorite. Not only was the wine delicious, but the atmosphere was enthralling. Set on a hill overlooking a popular tourist town in the distance, we could feel the warmth of sun on our skin, the gentle breeze flowing through our hair and the sounds of birds chirping coupled with relaxing music playing in the distance. It was less about the wine and more about the environment in which we found ourselves. This winery was hard, if not impossible, to beat.

We purchased our favorite bottle of wine at each location we stopped. Two reds, two whites and two days later, we were sitting in our living room sipping one of the vintages we purchased at our favorite winery, the very first we visited. While the taste was definitely intoxicating, it was not near as incredible as I remembered, based on the first taste I took at the actual winery. My fiancé agreed with this assessment as he, too, said it tasted much better when we were actually  there.

We contemplated this for a while. The wine was still tasty and enjoyable, but nothing like when we were there in person. Was it the environment we missed; the scenery, the sights and sounds surrounding us that stood out from the underwhelming and familiar routine of our daily lives?

Or, was there a miniscule factor of comparison that affected the taste once we brought these bottles home?

When at a winery, you taste several different vintages at one time. It is easy to distinguish which one your palate finds most appealing compared to the rest. Yet. When you take the full, unopened bottle home, the experience may not be quite as intoxicating (pun intended) as it felt with the very first taste.

How many times have I compared myself to others?

Countless times, and you know what they say, ‘Comparison is the root of all evil’. Maybe I am the only one that says that, but there is an actual well-known saying: “When comparing yourself to others, you will always come up short.” which I also find to be poignantly true.

There will always be others skinner, prettier, smarter, even kinder, wiser and more humorous than me. I feel popular when in the small, intimate surroundings of close family and friends, yet in situations with unknown crowds or large groups of people I do not know, I feel like a very unsightly camouflaged fish in an ocean of vibrantly beautiful and outlandishly colorful clown fish.

If there is one thing I wish to teach my children, it is to be who you are…in ALL situations.

Never be afraid to show your true colors or feel less-than when in the company of others. Be your own vintage, stand tall and proud. Those who are drawn to your particular flare for life are your people. Those who could not care less obviously just have a very different palate of taste.

The wine I love at each winery may not be my absolute favorite of all time. It seems I can always find a different vintage I love more than the one I recently declared to be my favorite. Yet, if I taste each new wine and appreciate it based on its own unique history, science and finished product, and not in harshly unfair comparison to other wines, I find the whole experience to be much more fulfilling and enjoyable.

We are all like fine wines.

Some are sweet and light bodied, others are deeply pungent, full bodied and very dry (those are my favorites and ironically, very similar to my own personality). Still others are medium bodied and slightly sweet, based on the food in which you pair with them. There is so much variety, history and special unique traits hiding out in each and every bottle of vino. With each appealing to his or her own class of fans.

Humans are much the same. We can love them all. We should love them all. Yet, some varieties may be more to our liking than others. There are unique traits in each person that we can appreciate. As for the whole package, that takes a much different approach. I put far more stock in lifelong relationships than I do in what I consider passing acquaintances. The same is true for wine. If I am at a celebration and they only have one type of wine, I will likely enjoy the glass, whether or not it is my typical go-to.

Comparison kills the art of celebrating variety.

Just because I enjoy full-bodied, dry, red vintages 3-5 years aged and housed in an artsy bottle with a colorful label, does not mean I cannot enjoy a newly bottled semi-sweet white wine stored in an ordinary bottle with a less vibrant label, on occasion. When comparing it to my favorite, I may feel disappointed and underwhelmed. However, when tasting the newer, less familiar vintage, if I give it an unbiased, curious and adventurous chance, I may just find it is not only to my liking, but it can possibly become one of the more desired flavors I enjoy.

Just as Dr. Seuss tells the story of the green eggs and ham, the term, ‘Try it, you might like it’ has enthralled adults and children alike for generations. If only human interactions could be the same. We may just discover we have far more in common than we do not. In addition, it is more than okay to like a variety of vintages. After all, isn’t variety the very spice of life?

Amannda Maphies has always gone by Manndi; and yes, it has two n’s. It is actually a perfect moniker for her as she’sa bit (more than a bit) zany, wacky, crazy and loves nothing more than to laugh at herself and share that laughter with others. Manndi works fulltime at the UMKC School of Pharmacy, has two boys, William (10) and Waylan (8). She loves to write so she recently started posting on Facebook about her daily adventures about everything from being a single mom of two wild and crazy boys to dating after divorce, to more serious topics such as the loss of a loved one and suicide awareness. She trie to infuse humor, relatability and a touch of inspiration into each of her pieces. One day, she will compile them for a memoir of her life. Manndi’s life motto is ‘live a life you would want to read about’ and she strives everyday to reach others with her words. She feels that you are only as happy as you choose to be and she CHOOSES happiness over all other emotions. She is honored to be featured in a publication named ‘Positively Positive’ because that is truly how she strives to live life.

Image courtesy of fauxels.